Lumia 950 screen problems - color calibration, banding and black clipping

This is a screen problem with many 950's and possibly XL's.

In dark scenes videos and images (notably downloaded wallpapers and video samples - not exactly photos/videos made with the phone) exhibit awful banding, black clipping, blocking and ringing artifacts. Black/dark-brown spots/stains of wrong color like compression artifacts where it should be different shades of grey/black. Essentially, wherever there is a dark gradient we get lots of black stains/spots  and banding.
It seems to be a problem of screen calibration, possibly too high gamma level. 

How to test:
- download on both phone and computer the gammatest-xda.png image attached.
- go into a pitch-black environment and boost the phone's brightness to 100%. This is needed to better see the problems. The dark environment is essential. As more light is in the room, the problem starts to be less noticeable, and in normal daylight outside is basically unnoticeable. This has nothing to to with addaptive brightness and the problem does not go away, simply the human eye adapts to more light so does not "see" the problem anymore. - THIS IS IMPORTANT!!!


Now observe how it is rendered on the computer (considering we have a correct calibrated monitor) and how it is rendered on the phone.

The image:
- each block has a background color of different shades of gray, starting with block 21 (RGB 21-21-21) until block 0 (RGB 0-0-0) which is clear black.
So 9 is RGB 9-9-9, 13 is RGB 13-13-13 and so on....
- the numbers are all pitch black (RGB 0-0-0)

What is suppose to look like:
- nice looking and gradual gradient. The switch from one box to the next must be discrete and barely noticeable. 
- starting around box 6 to 0, the majority of people should not be able to distinguish the numbers anymore because the background is more and more black.

What looks like on my 950:
- all boxes except 2 to 0 are far too bright. The 21 to 11 boxes seems ok, you can see that color gets gradually darker.
- from 10 to 5 looks like the same shade, not different from box to box and TOO BRIGHT compared to the reality. It should be much darker.
- box 4 is a bit darker, but still way too bright.
- box 3 is HUGELY different. It looks like a dark brown. While closer to reality is still too bright, but compare it to 4, it is a MASSIVE difference. 4 to 10 are WAY TOO BRIGHT.
- box 2 is hugely different from 3 and like night and day compared to 4-10. Looks to me that 2 to 0 are perfect rendered. but the 4 to 10 are way off, huge difference that ruins dark scenes in videos. 
- I can clearly see all the numbers from 21 to 4, even if I'm drunk as ****. 3 is harder to see but I have no problems seeing it. 2 to 0 I cannot see any of the numbers. 

Attached I've put a photo of the 950 (to the left) next to my wife's Sony Xperia Z3 Compact (to the right). The photo is overexposed because of the dark environment, but that it is not the point. The point is you can clearly see the differences between the shades on the 950. On the Z3, although has poor black levels, it has a normal gradual shift of the shades from box to box. In real life basically looks perfect, like on the computer.

I've checked both 950 and 950 XL inside the same vodafone store together with my 950 (that is bought from orange) and in the exact same conditions, both 950's suffer from this problem but NOT the XL. The XL rendered perfectly.

Can someone advise if looks like a gpu driver problem (SW) or should we go and take our handsets back for repairs?

Can a Microsoft official test the 950 and 950 XL and tell us his findings?

Also can someone from Microsoft escalate the problem if it turns out to be SW related? 

Thank you

Cris


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I noticed the same problem on my 950, I sent it back for a refund and bought another but it's just the same. Hopefully someone will see this! post and do something about it!

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Hi, CristiL.m Thank you for posting on the community. Are you still experiencing the same behavior? Have you tried checking if the system apps are up to date? Do you have the latest software version installed on the phone? Does resetting the phone by going to Settings>System>About>Reset your phone makes any changes? Make sure to create a backup to avoid data loss.

Hi, Jamesl3ell. Did you get the phone back from the Care Point? If so, are you still experiencing the same behavior? We'd appreciate if you keep us posted.  

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I got a new 950 but there is still  a problem with clipping on dark videos and pictures.   The only time it displays correctly is when playing videos encoded with h.265.

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The problem is here since day 1 (december). Since then I've done contless hard resets. No change....

However, tested a 950 DS from a colague of mine bought a couple of days ago and that one is perfect.

Looks like a bad panel.

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Hi CristiL, please try the h.265 sample video in the link below.  I think it's just a codec problem and not a bad panel.

https://onedrive.live.com/redir?resid=BE3E458B57D61E44!172291&authkey=!AAYEhE3hRZ5X2cE&ithint=video%2cmp4

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The same problems. And since I saw another 950 with perfect grays and another XL the same perfect grays, than what I have (and many others) are bad panels.

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A small update

The phone is on it's 3rd trip to the service center. First time was reflashed. Obviously nothing happened. Second time the screen was replaced. Still the problem is there, nothing changed.

Not it is on it's 3rd trip with the same problem. The engineer said something about trying a motherboard replacement. Personally I'll not accept another repair as the second time when the screen was replaced the phone was very badly assembled with loose screws and parts wrongly put in place.

I asked for a new one (and properly tested before delivery) or a refund, in which case I'll buy it again from the same shop my coworker bought his perfect 950.

Shame that QC is so badly....

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Greetings CristiL
Got a new 950 DS 2 weeks back .

I'm having the same issue. Watching videos in dark is impossible .

Any update on your situation ?

Should I wait for a firmware update to fix this or go to the service

Regards

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Same problem with my new Lumia 950.

I write about this problem on Italian's Forum, and some people have this problem.

Sorry for my english, I write from Italy.

Massimiliano

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Hi Delportro,

Sorry for this late reply. Since the last message many things changed. I got a new 950 from the service which I returned on the same day because it had the same problem, and asked for a refund. Got the refund and purchased a dual sim 950 from the shop my coworker bought his, same color, but even that one had the same problem. Returned it next day and bought a 950 XL which is working even now without problems and no more bad screen.

So 3 950's, one with screen and motherboard replaced, all bad. Obviously bad panels. Probably 2 sources of panels, one good and one bad, with the good ones in smalller quantities.

If we would have been a bigger community pribably this priblem would have been beeter dealt by MSFT, but with such a low market share nobody really cares...

Cheers

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Last updated May 14, 2020 Views 1,329 Applies to: